Avista hires pharma head for healthcare

The firm has added Brian Markison, former CEO of Fougera Pharmaceuticals, as an industry executive to help source deals and oversee investments. Avista now has 13 operating executives.

Avista Capital Partners has hired Brian Markison, former chief executive officer of Fougera Pharmaceuticals, as a healthcare industry executive.

Markison will provide operating expertise to help Avista evaluate investment opportunities and oversee its existing healthcare investments, primarily in North America. Prior to becoming president and CEO of Fougera in July 2011, Markison was the CEO of King Pharmaceuticals, which he joined in 2004. He previously spent 22 years at biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Markison’s hire comes roughly two months after Avista sold Fougera, a spin-off from portfolio company Nycomed, for roughly $1.5 billion alongside Nordic Capital and DLJ Merchant Banking. The appointment marks the second operating executive to join Avista’s healthcare team since the firm hired former CEO of Nycomed Håkan Björklund last October to help with investment opportunities and existing portfolio companies in Europe.

Avista was one of several private equity firms to score big with Nycomed, a Scandinavian pharmaceutical company the firm sold for €9.6 billion in May 2011 alongside Coller Capital, DLJ Merchant Banking and Nordic Capital.

Avista’s healthcare team focuses on companies in the pharmaceutical, medical devices and healthcare services sectors. Healthcare has been a “core strength for Avista since the firm’s inception”, Avista CEO Thompson Dean said in a statement.

The firm declined to comment further.

Avista now has a total of 13 industry executives across its target sectors of energy, healthcare, consumer, industrial and communications and media. The firm was founded in 2005 as a spin-out from Credit Suisse First Boston.